Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013

Best Craft Beer Selection

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Food & Drink: Christopher Ware leads our group into a lofty conference space with mile-high ceilings, two giant wooden tables and possibly the comfiest... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/1/2014
The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

College Guide 2013: If you’re going to be in a college dorm, a spacious apartment, a cramped shared bedroom or anywhere on a college campus for that matter, be prepared for your... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013
Savage Love: Friend in Need

Savage Love: Friend in Need

Arts & Culture: A straight male friend practices sounding and has for years. I am pretty sure he does other things that he isn’t telling anyone about... By Dan Savage 10/1/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


Road to Nowhere: Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch drive ‘Prince Avalanche’

Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

Courtesy Photo

“Can we just enjoy the silence?” screams Paul Rudd's uptight Alvin in David Gordon Green's minimalist comedy Prince Avalanche. It's shouted in reaction to Lance (Emile Hirsch), the feckless brother of his long-term girlfriend, whose very existence is an intrusion on Alvin's psyche. On first blush it's an easy laugh line but, when considered a part of Green's whole, there's a sly thematic triple entendre at work. What starts as a remake of the Icelandic film Either Way becomes more like Waiting For Godot, as Green's leads become stand-ins for Vladimir and Estragon, Beckett's dim-witted wanderers. Both sets of characters, in their way, seek to “hold the terrible silence at bay.”

And then there's Alvin and Lance's allegorical impact on the landscape they traverse. Set in Bastrop State Park in an area still devastated by 2011’s wildfires, the men—dressed in Super Mario Bros. overalls—service the highway that runs through the blackened park. But even as they admit that the paint they are using is poisonous, they can't help but casually expose the land and water to its toxins, eventually abandoning their equipment in a fit of rage. In a film where men burnt by life question their relationship with both the environment and one another, screaming "Can't we just enjoy the silence?" becomes its own answer.

That's a lot to take away from a movie where little happens, and it'll be interesting to see if American audiences will adjust to Prince Avalanche's slow and deceptively simple rhythms. Mostly a two-man showcase for Rudd and Hirsch, their directionless road workers seem incapable of embracing the reflective isolation their job provides them. Hired to repaint the road and fix signs and posts, they fill their day pushing a wheelbarrow, caulking reflectors and endlessly bickering. Evenings involve setting up a campsite and further resenting each other’s presence. If you can't see the eventual bond that will develop between these bruised, opposing personalities, you know little of drama.

Still, writer/director David Gordon Green takes this familiar story of accidental bromance and subtly inserts metaphors about loss and regeneration. How can a person be alone? How can a person be with others? The emotionally stunted Alvin and Lance struggle to answer these questions as they express their sexual frustrations, their inability to maintain relationships and their desire to define themselves. And, of course, these interactions are set amidst a scorched environment that struggles to heal itself and grow. In many ways, the film is telling the story of our country today, echoing the sense of loss and degradation that infects us all.

The emotions boiling beneath the main characters’ irritating exteriors give their exchanges energy and authenticity. It's easy to associate with their petty tragedies and triumphs, particularly when the Rudd and Hirsch drive the action. But Prince Avalanche isn't quite the character study it seems to want to be. Green sometimes bobbles the tone and focus, lurching from deadpan comedy to self-indulgent navel gazing to underplayed ghost story. It's as if he's unsure of how much to let us inside Alvin's condescending yet lonely psyche. And any nuance in Lance comes courtesy of Hirsch's performance.

The movie's best moment is one that was unplanned by the filmmakers. While shooting, the crew stumbled across an elderly woman, an actual resident, sifting through the debris of her destroyed home. She gave Rudd a tour and Green was savvy enough to capture their heartbreaking interactions on film. "Everything is past tense now," the woman laments. It's the kind of incisive, poetic moment Prince Avalanche strives to communicate and only occasionally delivers.

Prince Avalanche

Dir. David Gordon Green; writ. Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, David Gordon Green; feat. Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault (R)

Available on iTunes and Video On-Demand

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus